Scammers take advantage of the busy nature of many small businesses to swindle them.
How the scam works
Scams targeting small businesses come in all sorts of guises and are likely to strike at the busiest times, like the end of the financial year.
A false billing scam is the most common trick scammers use against small businesses. Scammers issue fake bills for unwanted or unauthorised listings, advertisements, products or services. The business directory scam is a well-known example, where you receive a bill for a listing in a supposedly well-known directory. Scammers trick you to sign up by disguising the offer as an outstanding invoice or a free listing, but with a hidden subscription agreement in the fine print.
The domain name scam is another ploy used by scammers, where you are deceived into signing up for an unsolicited internet domain registration very similar to your own. You may also receive a fake renewal notice for your actual domain name and pay without realising.
An office supply scam involves you receiving and being charged for products that youdid not order. These scams often involve products or services that you regularly order such as stationery and cleaning supplies. Scammers typically call your business pretending that a service or product has already been ordered.
Payment redirection scams involve a scammer using information they have obtained by hacking your computer systems. They then pose as one of your regular suppliers and tell you that their banking details have changed. They may tell you they have recently changed banks, and may use copied letterhead and branding to convince you they are legitimate. They will provide you with a new bank account number and ask that all future payments are processed accordingly. The scam is often only detected when your regular supplier asks why they have not been paid.
Ransomware can be extremely damaging for any business. The best defence is to back up your data regularly and store your backups offsite and offline.
- Dont agree to offersor deals straight away - always ask for an offer in writing and seek independent advice if the deal involves money, time or a long-term commitment.
- Never provide your business banking, financial and accounting details to someone that contacts you unexpectedly and that you dont know and trust.
- Effective management procedures cang o a long way towards preventing scams - have clearly defined processes for verifying and paying accounts and invoices and look very carefully at requests to change banking details.
- Train your staff to recognise scams.
- Back up your business data offsite and offline.